UAE property: ‘Can a landlord evict the tenant without serving 12 months’ notice?’

If the tenant agrees to vacate the property upon lease expiry, the landlord need not serve the eviction notice but must get a notarised confirmation instead

If the tenant wishes to renew the tenancy, the landlord will be forced to serve them with the statutory 12 months’ eviction notice upon expiration of the current lease agreement. Getty
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Question: I am based overseas and own a property in Dubai, which is currently rented out. The tenancy contract ends on March 31.

Can I ask my tenant to leave on the same day as I need the property for my own use when my family visits Dubai?

If the tenant agrees to leave, do I still have to send him a notarised eviction notice?

What are my options if the tenant refuses to leave and asks for a 12-month eviction notice instead?

During the notice period, can I increase rent in line with the Real Estate Regulatory Agency’s index?

Should I sign a new tenancy agreement to cover the additional nine months’ notice? IH, UK

Answer: If you tell your tenant that you need the property back after the expiration of the tenancy agreement on March 31 and they agree to not renew and vacate upon this date, then there is no need to send the eviction notice as everything has been agreed.

However, even if the tenant has verbally agreed to vacate, the agreement should be via a notarised confirmation. You can organise this yourself and get it signed by the tenant and stamped at the notary public.

The reason behind getting it confirmed in writing and notarised is in case the tenant changes their mind.

When it is in writing like this, generally, it will be more difficult to alter should the tenant’s situation change.

However, if the tenant wishes to renew the tenancy and not vacate by the end of March, then you will be forced to serve them with the statutory 12 months’ eviction notice upon expiration of the agreement for the reason of wishing to use the property yourself.

Therefore, you will renew for one more year before the tenant will have to vacate.

With reference to the rental amount for the renewal contract, as long as you have given at least 90 days’ notice of any changes, you are at liberty to increase the rent, providing the Rera rental calculator allows for this increase.

Remember to put your increased rental proposal in writing (email is fine).

If you serve the 12 months’ notice before the expiration date, for example, in December, you will have to do the renewal contract for nine months rather than 12 months.

Q: I am a landlord in Dubai. While renewing the tenancy contract, can I change the terms of the lease agreement and make tenants responsible for paying service charges and utilities? HI, Dubai

A: As long as at least 90 days’ notice has been given to either party for any changes to an existing contract, then these can take effect, assuming all parties have agreed to the terms of the modifications.

However, remember that any changes should be reasonable.

It is not reasonable for a landlord to request the tenant to pay for service charges if they are part of the maintenance because this is and has always been the owner’s responsibility.

I understand that some landlords are trying to find creative ways of getting more money from tenants when the permissible increase in rent is limited due to the Rera rental calculator restrictions.

But I would be surprised if a tenant would agree to such terms. However, you are not breaking the law by asking them to pay or at least contribute.

Mario Volpi is the sales and leasing manager at Engel & Volkers. He has worked in the property sector for more than 35 years, in London and Dubai. The opinions expressed do not constitute legal advice and are provided for information only. Please send any questions to mario.volpi@engelvoelkers.com

Updated: December 29, 2022, 4:00 AM
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